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Gap narrows between prison capacity and population

Justice minister looking to improve overcrowded jails

25 March, 14:08
Gap narrows between prison capacity and population (ANSA) - Rome, March 25 - Italy's prison population exceeds legal capacity by around 10,000 people, Justice Minister Andrea Orlando said Tuesday.

In January 2013, when the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ordered Italy to address the "degrading and inhumane conditions" in its prisons, the jail population stood at just over 65,700 compared to around 47,500 available places.

The figure has since fallen to around 60,800 and Orlando said he hoped to see the gap narrow further over the coming months.

The Strasbourg court gave Italy until May 28 to correct the problem of prison overcrowding, a contributing factor in the high incidence of self-injury and suicide amongst the country's inmates. In December the government of ex-premier Enrico Letta passed a controversial decree aimed at reducing overcrowding by releasing some inmates early.